A HUGELY HELPFUL reading tip!

i wanted to share this incredibly helpful reading tip that is very easy to overlook.

sometimes you will read a sentence in japanese straight through and it makes no sense. many japanese readers just get into the habit of wanting to read as fast or as steadily as their native language, which often results in a jumble of only partially-comprehended japanese because their brain can’t keep up with the amount of japanese text coming in. it can’t process it all properly and make the proper connections, even if it understood the individual vocab words. this can result in frustration, and feeling like reading is harder than it actually has to be :pensive:

the solution? get into the habit of reading in small meaningful chunks, not the entire sentence at once! :grinning: for example take these two sentences:

4月からアメリカのケーブルテレビで私生活に関するドキュメンタリーの放映開始が決定している歌手、ケシャ。気になる内容はたくさんのキスからおしっこを飲む健康法を実践する様子まで盛り沢山だとか。

reading even the first sentence all in one go can feel overwhelming, and if you’re in the habit of just reading it straight through at the same pace, you might reach the end of the sentence thinking “what the hell did that even mean?” but if you break it up into little bite-sized chunks of meaning, by simply pausing at the right parts to feel into the meaning of just that part, like so:

4月から :heavy_check_mark: アメリカのケーブルテレビで :heavy_check_mark: 私生活に関するドキュメンタリーの :heavy_check_mark: 放映開始が :heavy_check_mark: 決定している歌手、ケシャ。:heavy_check_mark:

気になる内容は :heavy_check_mark: たくさんのキスから :heavy_check_mark: おしっこを飲む健康法を :heavy_check_mark: 実践する様子まで :heavy_check_mark: 盛り沢山だ :heavy_check_mark: とか。:heavy_check_mark:

see how comprehension can improve 500% from simply pausing at the right places? :wink: it just has to become a habit – pausing for one or two seconds or however long you need, to confirm that you have a full grasp on a bite-sized chunk of meaning, before attempting to move on. of course over time as you practice, it because so automatic that you can barely tell you’re pausing. we do these micro-pauses when reading our native language as well!

we don’t attempt to eat our meals all in one bite! and if we do, it’s terrible for our digestion. in the same way, digesting one comfortable “bite” at a time, will really improve your experience of reading, enhancing:

:sparkling_heart: the ease of reading
:sparkling_heart: the ability to understand more, & more clearly when you read
:sparkling_heart: and thus, the fun of reading
:sparkling_heart: and with practice, your reading speed will improve much quicker this way as well

just really wanted to share that! i hope it helps those of you who are working on getting better at reading in japanese. i think it’s a vital tip that i wish i’d known when i was just beginning myself.

37 Likes

Thanks for sharing this! I haven’t ventured into much reading yet, however, the tip totally tracks. It feels like one of those common sense things that apparently isn’t so common (to me at least).

Enjoy your weekend!

1 Like

Thanks for the advice! Will keep this in mind.

1 Like

Besides this divide-and-conquer strategy, another standard trick is to backtrack: start at the end of the sentence to identify the verb of the main clause.

13 Likes

i was thinking about this tip again this past weekend working with my friend who’s studying japanese as a beginner, and i told her a tip i thought of on the spot to help her instill this habit, which may be helpful for some of you guys too!

the tip was to use a highlighter to demarcate every other chunk in a page of text. reading through each sentence to get a feel for where the logical “chunks” are, how many characters they tend to be composed of, the particles that tend to come after meaningful chunks, etc.

i told her to try doing that for one or two pages a day, and then reread those pages once, ofc pausing as she reads each chunk. we did it together and it even made me feel more aware of and more easily able to read in chunks - and i’d already been doing it for over a year now! so i hope that tip helps you guys to (: